first_imgAfter confirming that some 300+ employees were made redundant over the weekend and that it has closed a significant number of branches across its group branch network, Spicerhaart CEO Paul Smith has revealed why the cull had to take place and asked for understanding.In a statement released a few minutes ago, he says details of the government’s plans to offer help to businesses affected by Coronavirus came too late for Spicerhaart, which he says is facing a 90% reduction in property sales income.Smith says although he is ‘very sorry’ for the redundancies, he says many other estate agencies are facing the same challenges and may follow suit. This is his statement.“As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, we have had to take the very difficult decision to lay off some of our staff.“The remainder – around 1,750 – are now working from home and our branches are temporarily closed in order to keep our staff and customers safe. Most of our branches will re-open when it is safe to do so.“We totally understand the challenges and hardship that this very difficult decision will have for the staff who’ve been laid off, especially at this time of crisis with Covid-19. We have apologised to the individuals concerned and will be discussing their leaving terms with them.“We had to act quickly in order to safeguard the business as a whole as the industry is facing the prospect of up to 90% less income coming in from property sales with best estimates suggesting it could be six to nine months before transaction volumes return – and even then, there’s no guarantee.Go to the wall“I doubt if any estate agency, large or small, can survive with just a fraction of their income for nine months and we will see many agencies go to the wall if they don’t take action now.“We have been criticised for not keeping staff on so they can claim 80% of their salary from the Government – but without any clarity of what this means for estate agents we had to act.“The 80% is only for those who can’t work during this outbreak – it’s unclear at present whether agents’ normal activities would fall into that category.“If the Chancellor had extended the business rates payment holiday to estate agents or offered us grants or subsidies as he had done to retailers, it would have made all the difference.“I have requested, via my local MP, that Rishi Sunak rethink the business rates relief and include estate agents.Epidemic“At the same time, we had to take on board the Government’s advice about social distancing and self-isolation, given the speed at which the coronavirus epidemic is escalating in the UK.“This meant temporarily closing all our branches on Friday and setting up systems and technology so that our staff can work from home, which was a huge undertaking by our IT and telecoms team.“I am so desperately sad that a few of our branches will never re-open and I would like to thank all those staff who worked there for all their hard work. I hope, one day, they will understand that this was a decision that was completely out of my hands.“Having been contacted by many others in the industry, I know we are not alone in taking this drastic action to let people go; many other estate agencies are following suit and I know of hundreds of job losses so far across the industry.“Hopefully, out of adversity will come new operating models as agents strive to be innovative to face the challenges ahead.“What many people are failing to grasp is that this pandemic will have major consequences for society as a whole, not just our industry. And we’re only just at the start.”  haart CEO Paul Smith spicerhaart March 23, 2020Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » News » Agencies & People » Spicerhaart boss reveals why 300 jobs have been cut despite government help previous nextAgencies & PeopleSpicerhaart boss reveals why 300 jobs have been cut despite government helpCEO Paul Smith says his hands were tied by the vague nature of the government’s plans so far and the rapid way Coronavirus has affected the sales market in particular.Nigel Lewis23rd March 202008,775 Viewslast_img

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